|A caregiver (R) works at an elderly supporting centre in Tomioka town of Japan's Fukushima prefecture. Japan is facing a labour shortage caused by its rapidly aging population (Photo: AFP/VNA)
The number of foreign workers in Japan hit a record 1,658,804 as of the month, up 13.6 percent year on year, as companies increasingly hired them amid a labour shortage caused by the nation's rapidly aging population.
The ministry attributed the 12th straight yearly rise to a government policy aimed at bringing in more highly skilled foreign workers and hiring students for part-time jobs. It also said there was greater labour force participation by permanent residents and the spouses of Japanese due to improved employment conditions.
Trainees from developing countries under Japan's technical intern programme also contributed to the increase, the country’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare said.
It noted workers of the Chinese nationality accounted for some 25 percent of the entire foreign workforce at 418,327, followed by Vietnamese at 401,326 and Filipinos at 179,685. The figures rose by 7.5 percent, 26.7 percent and 9.6 percent, respectively.
Japan created a new visa system on April 1 last year to bring in more workers from overseas to address its labour shortage, marking a major policy shift from its traditionally strict immigration rules.